Ghosts, Goblins, and Local Lore

5 of the spookiest places in Georgia that will give you a serious case of goosebumps

Ghosts, Goblins, and Local Lore

Crybaby Bridge – Columbus

Following a long road deep into the woods, you will come upon three wooden bridges. The last one had become the most infamous among locals. The bridge itself carries many stories of tragedy, but there are three that are most prominent when it comes to explaining the ghostly nature of the area. The first story is that a mother drowned her three children in the water below the bridge, and the sounds at night are reported to sound like the screams of infant children. The second story states that a young boy lost his way in the woods and drowned in the creek; his spirit still haunts the area looking for a way out. The third and final tragic story tied to the bridge is of a farmer who found out he was expecting a 5th child.

Crybaby Bridge

Knowing he could not afford to support his unborn child, he made a deal with the doctor to drown the child after it was born without his wife knowing. The doctor did as he was asked, but those who visit on the night of a full moon report that they can hear a baby crying and the wails of a mourning mother searching for her child.

Lake Lanier – North Georgia

Located in North Georgia, only 60 miles from Atlanta, sits the largest and deadliest lake in North Georgia. It has over 600 miles of shoreline and shares borders with five counties: Hall, Forsyth Dawson, Gwinnett, and Lumpkin county. In 1957, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers displaced over 50,000 acres of farmland, forests, and areas in which families and businesses called home. What started out as a supposed small man-made reservoir ended up causing death and destruction to hundreds who have appeared to be rather unforgiving for the loss of their land and peace. The lake is said to have over 20 cemeteries under its waters and claims even more bodies every year. Mysterious drownings are not uncommon. Bodies from unsolved murder mysteries are discovered near the lake countless times. A lady of the Lake has haunted the waters for decades. Many come to the conclusion that the lake is either haunted or cursed, possibly both.

Lake Lanier Cemetery

Nonetheless, those who came face-to-face with death in its waters do not make it out alive, and those who do have a chilling story they won’t forget for the rest of their lives. It is very common for cars to crash randomly into the lake while passing; the car and its passengers never to be seen again. Boats and those swimming in the haunted waters often meet a similar fate with no obvious or logical explanation. Survivors report a feeling of being dragged down beneath the water by invisible hands with strength that they could not hope to overcome. There is no fighting the ominous feeling that Lake Lanier gives, yet millions visit each year and it claims the lives of a select few who thought they were brave enough to venture into its ghostly waters and make it out alive.

Marshall House Hotel – Savannah

On Broughton Street sits one of the oldest hotels in Savannah, Georgia. Unlike many of the historic hotels today, the Marshall House Hotel was built specifically to be a hotel. Nonetheless, the hotel was occupied by Union soldiers during the Civil War and served as a hospital during the yellow fever epidemics in the nineteenth century. Due to these inhabitants who were predisposed to tragic outcomes, many believe the ghosts of those who stayed at the house during the time of their death still roam the halls of this historic structure. The spirits that roam the halls have even earned a reputation among the locals and even many of the visitors, as paranormal activity is common, if not expected. The activities range from faucets turning themselves off and on, electronics powering themselves, voices echoing through the halls, loud noises and crashes being heard but no origin found, and doorknobs rattling as if the ghoulish figures wish to enter the rooms.

Marshall House Hotel

The long-deceased guests are even occasionally spotted by those still living. After seeing a portrait of Mary Marshall, who has been dead for decades, behind the front desk in the lobby, a young girl told her father that she had spotted that same woman in the hallway the day before. Guests commonly report the sounds of a typewriter being used in the former room that the author Joel Chandler Harris used when writing his novels. Ghost children can even be added to the roster, as they are often spotted skipping through the halls and playing games all throughout the day and even into the night. Even so, the spirits in the hotel are not always friendly. A mother and son were staying at the hotel when the mother found her son crying when he left the bathroom. When questioned, the child said that he had been bitten by the child he was playing with. Nonetheless, upon investigation, the mother did not find another child but did find bite marks. This was not the first case nor the last of strange child-size bites of guests, some with enough force to leave bruises. Other guests report feeling like they are being touched while both awake and asleep as well as the unmistakable smell of burning flesh in their rooms.

Sorrell-Weed House – Savannah

On the edge of Madison Square in downtown Savannah, sits a historic landmark and one of the most haunted houses in Savannah. The house is dominated by the spirits of Matilda and Molly, each wanting desperately for the love of Francis Sorrel. The house was built in the 1840s shortly after he immigrated to the United States. He married a woman by the name of Lucinda Moxley who died just five years into their marriage. He married her younger sister Matilda two years after Lucinda’s death, but it was rumored that Francis had a long ongoing affair with a young slave girl by the name of Molly. He even went as far as to arrange for special quarters where they meet and express their love in private. Nonetheless, their affair was discovered by Matilda late one night, and in a fit of rage, committed suicide by jumping from the second-story balcony. The impact on the courtyard below killed her instantly. A few weeks after Matilda’s death, Molly was found hanging from a noose in the room where their relationship was carried out. Some say that it was a suicide while others believe a member of the family killed her in order to hide the truth about Francis’s and Molly’s affair. Nonetheless, there have been witnesses who state that the spirits of both women can be found haunting the grounds. Some say they can hear Molly begging for her life as she is being murdered or her cries of guilt to Matilda for loving another woman’s husband. Others say they hear the screams of Matilda mourning her marriage knowing that her husband loved another woman.

Sorrel-Weed House
Sorrel-Weed House









Central State Hotel – Milledgeville

Originally built and known for being the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum, the Central State Hospital opened in 1842 as the first public psychiatric hospital. It grew to become the largest institution in the world and grew to over 200 buildings that spanned over 2,00 acres and housed approximately 13,000 just a century after it was opened. The hospital eventually outgrew its resources, and the patients outnumbered the staff by 100 to 1. Thousands upon thousands were shipped off to the institute; anyone with any unidentifiable symptoms, disabilities, or even any small sign of abnormality in any aspect was admitted to the hospital. The doctors resorted to whatever “treatment” they seemed fit.  Lobotomies, electroshock therapy, children in metal cages, ice baths, and steam showers were common treatments to even the simplest of illnesses. Many of the patients died as a result of the mistreatment among other things. A cemetery with around 2,000 cast-iron markers stand to memorialize the some 25,000 patients buried on the grounds. After the mid-1960s, a national movement toward deinstitutionalization began. The asylum buildings began to vacate and a few of the buildings were turned into prisons, but most remain abandoned. Locals avoid the land and visitors only met with spine-chilling experiences. Screams of the deceased patients can be heard for what seems like miles to some, while some screams and wails seem to belong only to specific structures. The buildings themselves are off-limits to the public, yet just being near them gives visitors an unshakable, eerie feeling.

Central State Hospital